Invitation to cut willow – Endless craft possibilities!
We will be doing our annual willow cutting on the morning of Thursday 28th February 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. We would like to invite local people to help with the pollarding of the willow, which keeps the annual growth fresh, colourful and useful for crafts. You are welcome to take some of the willow that we cut away with you, which can be used for making a vast range of crafts, from baskets to a willow chicken for Easter! (We have had a go at making a chicken in our Wednesday Workshop.) You can also plant some of the willow stems in your own garden, which root easily and can be used for generating your own trees and living willow structures.
No cost, but booking is essential as places are limited.
We are keen to support local people who would like the opportunity to learn and share skills and who generally like ‘tinkering in sheds’. This might involve making things, crafting, repairing things, up-cycling, and, of course, involve the odd cup of tea and chat! We have a lovely workspace in which we welcome both men and women. Sessions run on Wednesdays from 10am. Please contact us for more information.
There is a national charity called UK Men’s Sheds Association which will give you a wider idea of the type of things that people have been doing on this theme across the country. http://menssheds.org.uk
As part of Thursday Pop-In, Buggy Walk is a chance for parents, grandparents and carers to bring little ones for a walk or wheel around. As parents, Sue and Andy, often walk around the paths of The Garden House with their son, Ben, who happily falls asleep with the motion of his buggy in the peaceful surroundings. We thought that other people might also appreciate the estate for this as well.
This gives the chance for those who are awake to watch the butterflies on the wildflowers, see the swallows swooping down to catch insects over the pond, watch geese and ducks swimming and pied wagtails bouncing along and to explore the new woodland. You may like to find somewhere quiet to sit on a log and read a book or chat with others about the tricks of parenting, whilst picnicking on the pond beach!
Please contact us if you would like to visit.
Panoramic photograph of the main pond
After a shaky start to the year when Canadian geese descended, munching and pulling out many of the planting in and around the pond last year, many plants have held on, are growing back, and have started flowering. Placing branches from tree pruning around the planted revetments may have helped to offer a little protection to aid the plants comeback and have had the added bonus of being used by dragonfly nymphs for shedding exuviae. Much wildlife is visiting and making homes in and around the pond. We have seen swallows swooping down to feed on insects, blue common damselflies, various dragonflies, newts, frogs, and two egyptian geese have started a family.
Thank you to everyone who has been helping to make the pond special!
Flowering Rush – Butomus umbellatus
Water Lilly – ‘Hollandia’
Iris – versicolor
Bumble bee on cornflower
Thursdays are a day to come and visit The Garden House, whether to take part in tasks or for other activities, such as the Buggy Walk.
In order to bring together the various people who have been helping and are interested in helping at The Garden House, we have now created the “Thursday Pop-In”. This will start from 10am, usually every week, dependent on holidays etc. We will start with a morning session, but if you choose to stay on, or can only come later, that will be fine. We are aiming to meet various needs, abilities and availabilities.
Tasks will combine people’s interests with seasonal activities to help The Garden House estate continue on its quest for combining a wildlife habitat with a place for people to enjoy.
Activities will be spread across the estate, involving the development of the new garden, establishing and maintaining the pond area, and supporting the new woodland and orchard. We hope we can find ways for you to build a connection with The Garden House and for you to benefit in multiple ways, be that learning new skills, having your own project here, learning from our environment, taking away produce, making friends and most importantly, enjoying the experience!
If you would like to have some time, during these Thursday Pop-in sessions, to just enjoy the estate and not take part in group activities, then that is also fine. Please talk through how you would like the sessions to work for you, and let us know if you are planning to join us, so that we can look out for you.
Surrey Wildlife Trust maternity leavers and their self named ‘Badger Babies’ came to visit The Garden House Estate. While they were here, they tested out the new woodland path in the sunshine! Hooray for spring!
The pruning session on 25th February saw 10 people participate in our guided pruning session. Three years after planting, we are still working on the formative pruning to give the trees the shape which they will take for the coming years – we are generally working on open-centred bush formed trees.
Chris McEwan, very kindly brought some of the cider that he and his wife, Becks, made from apples harvested in the autumn for everyone to try, which really was rather good!
Ben Thomas, and Joyce Turton also came along on other days to help to finish pruning and training, with some awkward branches being tied to anchors to hold branches in place. A layer of rotted horse manure is due to be added as a mulch to add some nutrients, hold in moisture and suppress weeds. We will then be ready for this years new growth.
Thank you all and see you later in the year for some fruit!
Manure is available from The Garden House, should you also need some for your garden or project. Contact us for more information. More info about the orchard here.